New Year’s Resolutions, Exciting Possibilities
With the new year comes the promise of new possibilities and exciting opportunities. It’s also the perfect time to reflect on the past, contemplate the future, and make new year’s resolutions. There are, of course, the perennial go-to; get in shape, eat better, lose weight, and be more positive. But for a lot of healthcare providers and professionals, resolutions are not necessarily confined to these quintessentials. So why not look at new goals, expand you and shine, for 2020 is here.
Find the time to take care of yourself the same way you do for your patients
Burnout is one of the most prevalent issues that healthcare professionals deal with. Not only do you have to deal with a highly stressful profession, but you’re also trying to manage the great sense of responsibility you feel towards your patients. Being kind is an important aspect of the job, but you also have to remember to be kind to yourself. You shouldn’t feel pressured to put everyone’s needs before yours.
Sometimes, it’s healthier to indulge in acts of self-care, both for your sanity and for your patients’ sake. Spending time with loved ones, taking more vacations, taking the initiative to “treat yourself”, and even reading for fun are all ways to take better care of yourself. There’s nothing wrong with giving your all to your profession, but you have to be in a good physical and mental state to do that. So, find the time to take care of yourself the same way you would for your patients.
Invest in a healthy and balanced diet
The problem with making new year’s resolutions is that people often set impossibly high standards for themselves. Getting in shape and eating healthier is great. The issue is when you tell yourself you need to fit into a pair of jeans two sizes too small by February. Instead of setting unrealistic expectations for yourself, start small and go from there. You can always lay down a list of weekly or monthly goals that you know, with a bit of hard work, you can achieve.
Don’t just drastically change your diet and expect your body to love you for it. Start by implementing small changes like eating less processed foods and sugars and build up from there. Most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip and fall back to old habits. You can always make up for it in your next meal. Don’t restrict yourself to a specific number of calories a day or completely excluding certain foods. Instead, try to eat varied meals and consume more whole foods, but still indulge in the occasional cookie (or two). Granted, this requires a bit more time than if you were to get something from the vending machine. But at the end of the day, you will feel a lot better about yourself.
Try not to work through your breaks
This one is a no-brainer, especially if you’re known to power through your breaks at work. Make a resolution to take the time to eat or relax during your breaks and stick to it. This makes all the difference between leaving mentally and physically exhausted after an 8 or 12-hour shift and leaving work ready to spend time with your family and loved ones. Don’t eat your lunch while you’re going through paperwork at the nurse station or in your office. It can be a bit challenging but try to be more present and mindful, whether you’re eating, getting some rest, or going out for fresh air.
Your work environment can already feel cramped and suffocating. But when you lack proper nutrition, decent rest, and physical activity, it can quickly turn into a living nightmare. When you sit down to eat, relax, or read a book, try to detach yourself from your profession for the next 20 minutes. Think of this time as yours and yours only, you’ll feel even better if you can withdraw yourself from work and get away from your patients for less than half an hour. Whatever you do during your free time will help restore some of your energy and enthusiasm for your job (but also life in general).
Get more organized
You’d be lying if you said you haven’t made this resolution before -and miserably failed at it too. But again, getting more organized, whether it’s in your personal life or profession, doesn’t mean you have to make radical changes to succeed. Remember: only a small percentage of people actually do achieve their new year’s resolutions. Why you ask. Well, because they don’t set their expectations too high and they have a solid actionable plan.
So why do people keep including this one into their new year’s resolutions, despite the fact that only a ‘lucky’ few actually follow through? Getting more organized is the key to becoming more productive and efficient. When you clearly map out everything you need to do and accomplish, you’re that much closer to achieving your goals. Of course, a big part of it is translating what’s on paper into reality. You can have the most organized mind without necessarily putting it into practice. So, the best way to approach this one is to break down big tasks into more manageable ones.
In the same way, you would make a list of tasks for each patient, you can apply this concept to your life as well. No task is too big or too insignificant. You will find that you can get the same level of satisfaction from crossing off “eating more whole foods” off your list than you would from crossing off work-related tasks. You don’t need to lay out each day’s plan down to a T. If anything, this can be more stressful if you don’t have time to do everything you set out to do. But do include more realistic things like meditating, taking a 20-minute walk, reorganizing your scrubs, scrub hats, and surgical caps in your locker, or even sharing a meal with your family. So, think of ways you can be more organized and try to implement them into your daily life.
Educate yourself on the way healthcare is evolving
It’s always helpful for you and your colleagues to be well-informed on the latest legislation trends and changes related to your career path. So, take the time to educate yourself on relevant healthcare topics, any potential reforms, as well as the challenges the industry is facing. You might find opportunities for you and your coworkers to advocate for change, or at the very least find better ways to assist and help your patients. Pick one or two areas that are closely related to your profession and try to do some research and learn more about the current state of things, both legally and practically. You never know how future legislation could impact your career, and it’s always better to be more knowledgeable and up-to-date with current issues.